How anti-Catholic is Newsweek? They published Richard McBrien.

How anti-Catholic is Newsweek?   They published a piece by Richard McBrien.

As you read this keep in mind a couple things.

First, Richard McBrien is a liberal dissident.  He detests Pope Benedict.  That is what his following dreck is about.

When the Holy Father wrote to the people of Ireland, he said that we need to return to more traditional practices of penance and prayer to help deal with the situation of the Church and society.  Perhaps McBrien would prefer to preserve the status quo, the same environment in which the abuse rose in Ireland rather than support anything the Pope wants.

McBrien wants you to take away from this piece that a conservative agenda in the Church will perpetuate the environment of abuse.  If we become enlightened and embrace the liberal agenda, these problems will be healed.   

Don’t accept this guy’s premises and follow him down the rabbit hole into his assumptive world.

My emphases and comments.

Rollback Rollback

Conservatives in the Catholic Church had a champion in Pope Benedict, whom they counted upon to turn back the clock. That may be over now.

The child sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic priesthood—and the worldwide cover-up that seems, at least indirectly, to have involved Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he was elevated to the papacy—has embarrassed the Catholic Church and angered parishioners. It’s a good bet Pope Benedict XVI won’t resign under pressure; it’s not his style and, more importantly, nobody can compel him. But that doesn’t mean the scandal will simply go away. Benedict brought a clearly conservative moral agenda to the Vatican, [THAT is the real point of this hit piece.  McBrien doesn’t care about the kids.  He hates Benedict.] and he has gone about implementing it slowly. Yet until he comes clean on what he knew—and fires bishops who mishandled abuse cases—his changes are likely to stall or fail altogether.  [Instead of obsessing over the Pope, why doesn’t McBrien apply his insights to something close to home?  Has there never been any sexual abuse at Notre Dame?  In the Notre Dame theology department, for example?  Has ND ever urged students to come forward about sexual abuse on campus?  Have they, I don’t know,… established a hotline?  If there ever was such abuse, say, in the theology department, did the chairman of the department work to discover if there were any other cases?  Did he write to the bishop? To the Vatican’s Congregation for Education about what was going on?  Or did he perhaps leave it to the … who does this sort of thing in universities… the provost?   Did anyone issue a press release for the sake of transparency? Nah.  That might make "donors feel uncomfortable".]

The pope’s ideas about the church include his belief [RED HERRING ALERT!] that interpreters of Vatican II overly weakened the church’s teachings on salvation outside the church (that is, they relaxed the message that only Catholic dogma can lead to salvation), [My God!  It isn’t even thinly disguised, is it!] ecumenical relations with other Christian communities, abortion, homosexuality, and contraception, for example. [Does McBrien favor these things?  Probably.]  There is already an air of widespread indifference, if not outright opposition, to some of Benedict’s objections, such as those related to human sexuality and reproduction.

But the pope’s minority agenda [Not even thinly veiled.] is avidly supported by various high-ranking officials in the Curia Romana (the papal "cabinet"), many cardinals and bishops around the world, and a number of conservative organizations like Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ. [Again… no problems at all at Notre Dame?] With Benedict at the helm, this group—many of whom implicitly regard the Second Vatican Council’s reforms of the liturgy and the way authority is exercised in the church, from the bottom up rather than the top down, as a serious mistake and hope to repeal them—obviously has much greater clout than it otherwise would have. [What sort of sentence was that?] Through the pope’s forceful personality [LOL!] and the adroit control of the Vatican’s administrative machinery, [ROFL!  Who is this Pope that McBrien is talking about?!  I would love to meet him!   Folks… this clown doesn’t have a clue as to what sort of administrator Pope Benedict is, nor any clue about the "force" of his personality… which is forceful only by the impressive nature of his gentleness and good humor.  McBrien is clinging to the old smear label of "God’s Rotweiler".] Benedict has made headway in his rollback, especially in the appointment and promotion of like-minded bishops and curial officials, in his efforts to reverse some of the changes made at the 1965 council.

Now, though, the pope’s moral authority is very much in doubt. Especially if additional cases surface, his teaching on moral matters will hold much less sway among ordinary Catholics. [This is what he wants.  McBrien wants the Pope’s moral authority to be harmed.] The indifference to his agenda would probably expand into outright rejection.  [That is what McBrien is promoting, dear readers.] And Benedict would likely be less able to draft undecided Catholics to his side, except perhaps the most conservative.  [And, as liberals know, they are just knuckle-dragging cave-dwellers.]

Damage to Pope Benedict XVI’s moral authority would also probably affect his capacity to impose his conservative liturgical initiatives on the worldwide Church.  [This really freaks out the liberal dissidents such as McBrien.  They know that if we revitalize our worship, their out-of-date hippie-thing will be unmasked for what it really is.  But just take these ravings for what they are.  McBrien is terrified of the transcendent in worship.  Remember how he despises Eucharistic Adoration.] Vatican II and the late Pope Paul VI were adamantly opposed to having two liturgical rites, functioning side-by-side in the Roman Catholic Church—one in the vernacular for the majority of Catholics, and one still in Latin for a deeply conservative minority. [That "minority" has the ring of the "n-word", doesn’t it?] The Vatican II’s reforms also led to the turning around of the altar in order to enhance what the council and Paul VI called "the active participation" of the laity in the church’s main act of worship. [Nooo….] But to Bendict, these are anathema, [Has this clown ever actually read what Benedict has to say about "active participation"?  McBrien wants to link Benedict’s conservative liturgical agenda to clerical sexual abuse cover-ups.  I wonder if Notre Dame ever had on their faculty any clerical sexual abuser in their ultra-liberal, McBrien-harmonious, summer liturgical institute?  Ever?]  and he had hoped to turn the alter [sic!] back away from the congregation, encourage the celebration of mass in Latin, promote eucharistic adoration (a devotion outside of mass that focuses one’s attention and prayer on the consecrated Host), [See what I mean?] and support new and controversial translations of the texts for the mass and the other sacraments that many find overly literal and stilted.  [Again, this is not about kids who were harmed.  This is raw hatred for Pope Benedict.]

Each of these changes—they are often referred to as a "reform of the reform" by church insiders—requires political capital and widespread respect, even if it comes grudgingly. Yet with every day and every revelation, the pope has suffered a little more injury, [from people like McBrien, among others] and the collateral damage is a proportionate injury to his agenda. And with that would follow the sinking fortunes of the conservative Catholic minority, in the curia and beyond, who would like nothing better than the effective repeal of Vatican II. [Brush off the spittle and continue.]

In the Catholic Church, conservatives have been riding high since 1978, [You have got to be kidding me.  Conservatives have been riding high?  On which planet?  How can I go there?] when Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope John Paul II. Five years ago, with the election of Benedict XVI, their power was reaffirmed, and conservatives have benefited, as noted above, from appointments to crucial posts and bishoprics. Now, with sexual-abuse scandals reaching the very highest office, their control is suddenly in jeopardy. If Benedict does not find a way to put down the controversy, their power will finally begin to ebb.

McBrien is [inexplicably] a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame and the author, most recently, of The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism .

I think McBrien is pissed off that Hans Kung got press on this issue before he did.

Folks… don’t accept McBrien’s premises and follow him down the rabbit hole into his assumptive world.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. The snark in me wants to draw a line between McBrien’s fussiness about two rites and “opting out” to recent discussions about mandatory health care…
    That aside, anyone recall McBrien’s expression on live tv in 2005 when Benedict’s election was announced? Five years later, the wound still festers. He, like Kung, won’t stop–but they’ve also seen their revolution dry and wither on the vine.

  2. ipadre says:

    Why doesn’t McBrien do us all a favor and resign! It just bogles my mind why he not been silenced for his life of public heresy and attacks on Holy Mother Church all these years If he were a “conservative”, he would have been silenced years ago! The good news in all of this is that he and his ilk are a dying breed. Just like their contraceptive mentality, no one in their right mind would become a priest or religious following their example.

  3. Frank H says:

    Last night on the Larry King program, the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue said that he wished Fr. Murphy (of the Milwaukee deaf school abuse case) were still alive so that he could knock his teeth down his throat. Wonder why that just popped into my head as I read this McBrien piece?

  4. frthomasobrien says:

    McBrien might have you think he’s a layman. I believe he is a priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford.

  5. spesalvi23 says:

    I am SO pi**** off!!!! I cannot tell you how much I HATE such brainless, militant rambling!! Why the heck is this person still allowed to teach??!! Who keeps giving him a platform for his nonsense!??

    I only hope that this whole mess isn’t going to intimidate various Cardinals into selecting a streamlined, media darling, pc person in the next conclave (which I hope is at least 10 years away) just to keep the Church out of the headlines, and respectively, their jobs nice and cozy!!

  6. Desertfalcon says:

    No matter how People like Mr. McBrien try to label themselves, in the end, they all turn out to be children of the Enlightenment.

  7. Forgive me, Fr. Z. and y’all.
    But Fr. Erik’s poster is such a good commentary on all of this…
    Yeah, I said it.

  8. Oh, sorry. Here’s the link:
    I’m feeling wickeeed today! (Better go to confession soon!)

  9. Peggy R says:

    Fr Brundage was on Laura Igraham’s show correcting the record.

  10. Bressani56 says:

    “Conservatives in the Catholic Church had a champion in Pope Benedict, whom they counted upon to turn back the clock. That may be over now.”

    Oh, my! How clever he is! (wink) “But I never said I wanted to oppose Pope Benedict,” he’ll say. “I merely pointed out that he MAY start to lose support…”

    No wonder Newsweek published him. They use the same juvenile techniques when they write articles.

    They never have to justify anything with any data whatsoever. They’re much too lazy for that. They just say whatever they feel, but veil it, by phrases like, “I think the American people feel this way.” Or, “I think people are angry about this.” Or, “His support may start to wane because of this.”

    Etc. etc. It’s all nonsense. Talking heads. Foolish statements. Lazy, silly crazy-talk.

  11. MWindsor says:

    Ya know, I’ve seen a couple of commenter-types talking about the coming “Catholic Civil War”. I’m beginning to wonder if it hasn’t already started.

  12. wanda says:

    Go get yourself another Church, Richard. There’s plenty of ’em who share your liberal agenda. Get out and stop fowling up our air.

  13. wanda says:

    Sorry, So ticked off I think I mis-spelled fouling up. Oh well, Richard is rather a turkey, albeit old and sporting a wattle.

  14. Eugenio says:

    Dear Father Z,

    Is there really nothing that the Church can do about priests like Father McBrien? Is there no canoncial trial that can be erected resulting in his censure and removal from public ministry? Dissent needs to be reined in. Does he not embody odium? Frank Sheed wrote about ‘dead cells in the body of Christ’ and it would appear that we have one under the microscope. Pluck it out.

    You are likely busy, but any opinion on the matter would be appreciated.

  15. Fr_Sotelo says:

    The good Father McBrien has possibly gone off his meds, the high prescription psychotics which were given after the election of a certain Joseph Ratzinger caused McBrien to have a complete spiritual and mental breakdown.

    The poor man just needs to be pitied and, on occasion, taken to the special floor of the hospital where professionals can help him reconnect to reality and be functioning again. He doesn’t need to be silenced or further punished.

    For this sad creature, the worse punishment, worse than being suspended, water boarding or the iron maiden, was living to see the day when “HABEMUS PAPAM” rang out and he saw who it was who stepped out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s. They say the man will still go into seizures and have crying fits, in a fetal position, for no reason, when April 19th roles around.

    Just pray that someone make him a good chicken soup and that those who care for him continue to keep sharp objects out of his reach.

  16. Fr_Sotelo says:

    “Roles around” should be “rolls around” in the above post.

  17. Nathan says:

    Ah, remember the good old days when Frs McBrien and Kung and the NCReporter were calm, because they controlled the discussion? This recent spate of attacks on the Holy Father from within the Church appears to me to mirror the behavior of a cornered wild animal–defensive, but nonetheless dangerous.

    I think that some of the venom comes from the fact that the edifice of touchy-feely ecumenical relevant “we don’t believe that old stuff anymore” approaches to the Catholic Faith are the life’s work of these commentators. They stand to lose a lot if Pope Benedict’s vision for reform is realized, in terms of reputation, position, and material gains. Even the most reasonable of the progressives do not want to take part in what they forced on poor Cardinal Ottiavani in the Council–to speak out on what they firmly believe to be of critical imporance to the Church, only to have their microphone cut off unceremoniously and be loudly ignored.

    Nonetheless, everyone involved deserves prayer, and we have an obligation, especially in the Holy Triduum, in charity to watch our own words and actions closely to make sure we treat everyone, especially in the Church, as mercifully as Christ did his Apostles–those who ran, he who denied, he who betrayed. Only the outpouring of Divine Mercy, Love, and Grace, channeled by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass through all the Faithful, can prevent the evils associated with this conflict.

    In Christ,

  18. DisturbedMary says:

    Father Z. your wasting your graces debunking this guy. What does it mean to be a theologian at Notre Dame? Or a writer for Newsweek? It is fool’s gold.

    This year McBrien is a wolf after Benedict.

    Last year he was a theological rat when he criticized devotion to Christ in Eucharitsic adoration as ” a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward.”

    It’s about time he was asked to send back his baptismal certificate.

  19. Cath says:

    “Each of these changes—they are often referred to as a “reform of the reform” by church insiders—requires political capital and widespread respect, even if it comes grudgingly.” Did Christ have political capital and widespread respect? This is making me totally sick. Why are those who believe and try to follow Church teaching left alone to struggle while people like this are given platforms to spew this crap. I can deal with any attack the world (New York Times etc…) can dish out, but I am so tired of hearing this from “catholics”. How long, Oh Lord?

  20. The-Monk says:

    It is always good to know our Catholic higher educational history:

    [Thanks for that!]

  21. TNCath says:

    WHEN will Father McBrien’s archbishop, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell finally order Father McBrien to retire, remove his faculties, and forbid him from writing or preaching because of the scandal he has caused by writing such inaccurate, slanderous, and downright ludicrous diatribe?

    Bishop DiLorenzo of Richmond retired and silenced Father Thomas Quinlan several years ago for his irresponsible and offensive shenanigans; why can’t or won’t Archbishop Mansell do the same for this clown?

  22. Discipula says:

    Every time I hear about this guy my reaction is always the same. You mean to say that McBrien’s still alive?

    You takes this man seriously anyway?

  23. Discipula says:

    I meant to say Who takes this man seriously anyway?


  24. Fr Sotelo: ROFL!!
    Maybe a meds-check in is in order for the Rev. McBrien!
    The chicken soup sounds good (esp. since we’re abstaining from meat today!)

  25. TNCath: after having lived in close proximity to the Hartford Diocese…esp. seeing the debacle of “Plan B”–emergency contraception, really abortifacients (which the CT Bishops accepted listening to their “experts”), and all the rig-a-maroll that goes on in the Northeast RE: Catholic identity; episcopal overseeing; just let me tell you, “DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH” on that one…the Rev. McBrien is going to keep on “sharing the joy” until the good Lord calls him home…the day of reckoning that will take care of everything.

  26. TJerome says:

    McBrien is a prime example of a “Catholic” collaborator. Aligning himself with the world and its evils to attack the Pope. I guess the old saying, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has new meaning. Tom

  27. Henry Edwards says:

    Damage to Pope Benedict XVI’s moral authority would also probably affect his capacity to impose his conservative liturgical initiatives on the worldwide Church. …..

    Which of course is precisely what Fr. McBrien hopes. But perhaps it’s good that he states it openly. There are surely many mainstream Catholics — the kind who read nothing more theological than Newsweek — who might otherwise think he’s really concerned for “the children”. In the NCR thread yesterday I wrote

    ”If our Holy Father declined to let this crisis go to waste, and instead took it as an opportunity to lop off those heads that deserve to roll—and I’m thinking liturgical and doctrinal and disciplinary as well as clerical abuse crisis—then, indeed, the Church could reap the benefit for years and decades, perhaps even centuries.”

    Of course the NCR’s hand-wringing concern that the Church now faces “the largest institutional crisis in centuries” is no more sincere than Fr. McBrien’s. But if we actually believe that “Save the Liturgy, Save the World” or–as Vatican II put it–that the liturgy is the source and summit of our faith, then why not assume that success or failure now in “fixing” the liturgy could have effects not merely for years or decades but for centuries? Or, indeed, for all eternity, in the case of souls that might be saved or lost depending on the liturgy. As surely, have so many during the past 40 years.

    So if these folks want action, why not give them action? Followed by a papal Mass of reparation for the inaction of the past.

  28. Rich says:

    I don’t think it’s coincidence that the vast majority of the occurrences of abuse took place in the 1970’s and early 80’s, during the heyday of the reform according to the “spirit of Vatican II”.

  29. DdC says:

    As a friend once remarked, (concerning dinosaurs like Richard McBrien, et al.) “funeral by funeral we make progress…” God forgive me on this “Spy Wednesday” of the sin against Charity. I’m at Confession at 6pm.

  30. Fr_Sotelo says:


    I agree that we must be charitable with McBrien. I do not wish to sound mean-spirited with a joking reference to him being on high dosage psychotics.

    Rather, I think that when one of the Lord’s disciples decides to take the role of class clown, or village idiot in front of the entire Church, you can be enraged or you can try to see some humor. I prefer to poke fun at someone if that will help avoid the temptation of savaging them.

    In all seriousness, although I am not a health care professional, I do believe that Ratzinger’s election caused some mental imbalance in the old guard that wanted to radicalize the Church. In a sense, their image of God as being fed up with tradition and ready to rescue the Church from it, fell through the floor and they are sort of lost in space until they are able to wake up and realize God is sending them a message.

    Indeed, these are desperate folks, and if we calmly see their desperation for what it is, they should be pitied and prayed for more than disliked.

  31. TNCath says:

    Nazareth priest: Oh, I’m sure you are right about nothing happening to him. It just galls me to no end that they let that clown continue to perform his circus act. I have no doubt he will answer to the Higher Authority when he leaves this world. What bothers me more is the number of souls he, a PRIEST no less, has continued to infect with his erroneous and offensive diatribe.

  32. Cath says:

    Nonetheless, everyone involved deserves prayer, and we have an obligation, especially in the Holy Triduum, in charity to watch our own words and actions closely to make sure we treat everyone, especially in the Church, as mercifully as Christ did his Apostles—those who ran, he who denied, he who betrayed. Only the outpouring of Divine Mercy, Love, and Grace, channeled by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass through all the Faithful, can prevent the evils associated with this conflict.

    Thanks Nathan, I really need to take that to heart. Confession tonight :)

  33. ghlad says:

    I just thought of something – I really don’t mind Il Papa Benedict being called “God’s Rottweiler” so long as I can call myself “Benedict’s Rottweiler.”

    Goodness, I love our Pope! I was just discussing with a friend earlier how for my entire life (cradle Catholic, 28 years old) I had done close to zero habitual prayer for our Pope, since sadly I was never properly catechized and unaware as to how needed it is. Then, earlier this year, I just started trying to fire off a Pater noster/Ave Maria/Gloria Patri (aka “The Triple Threat Spiritual Knuckle Sandwich”) salvo nightly.

    I’ve never been more impressed upon by the importance of prayer especially for our Pope and all of our Catholic leaders until just now in my life.

    Fr. McBrien can surely use our prayers, too. Just like that experience that Fr. Zuhlsdorf posted about a couple of months ago where he gave the Apostolic Pardon to the priest who jumped in front of the train, God’s mercy is oh-so-potent and oh-so-needed, and who knows which one of us may find out in eternity that our prayers or even sacrifices for Fr. McBrien resulted in his Final Preserverence, or even his earlier conversion which might help to bring others in his milieu back to Christ?

  34. TNCath: I agree with you. A complete scandal that this priest is not silenced and put into some monastery (strictly cloistered, the Carthusians, maybe?…but then, again, they’d probably boot him out, too!).
    I’ve said this before, but I was FORCED to watch his “catholicism” (the ‘c’ is not capitalized for definite purposes here) when, many moons ago, in my youth, I worked in music at a Parish…complete torture from the get-go…and yet this man is practically canonized at the NCReporter blogs (often by a certain Frere Charles du desert…a complete psycho, if you ask me!)
    and continues to have a job and a bully-pulpit.
    The thing that gives me hope is that young Catholics serious about their faith aren’t interested in his drivel…maybe a few, but not the majority.
    Why should they swallow this garbage when the “real deal” is with Pope Benedict?

  35. Tradster says:

    “In the Catholic Church, conservatives have been riding high since 1978…”.

    So now we find out the SSPX, FSSP, and us traditional laity were in the catacombs all these years for nothing, and that we didn’t need SP after all!

  36. ghlad says:

    (Sorry to spam, I hit Submit too soon!) – but:

    My personal observation from these recent, I mean old, wait, I mean recent (right? wait, I can’t keep track of it all…) ‘scandals’ has been a profound respect for the need for grace and humility. And prayer, always prayer. I think for many of the Church Militant who are striving along The Way, these things are evidence of spiritual benefits wrested from the clutches of sin. (I hope nobody takes that to mean I think little of the victims who were abused or that I’m giving a pass to the propagandists interested in cashing in on popular dislike for the Church.) It’s just been eye-opening. (Mt 13:15, or something!)

  37. Fr Sotelo: Thanks for your comments re: charity.
    Charity means, I believe, in this instance, to wish no harm to anyone; to not condemn them to hell; not to wish suffering, evil, whatever. That’s a sin. In fact, it can bring about spiritual harm to the one who does it far more than the one who is cursed.
    I think “letting off steam” can be helpful, comic, a way to deal with the complete frustration of dealing with people who “should know better”.
    That being said; it’s not an “out” for letting it all hang out.
    But the great humorists; I’m thinking of G.K. Chesteron, H. Belloc, even E. Waugh, knew how to communicate the ironic, the idiotic, the complete insanity without (most of the time!) committing sin.
    I don’t think we in America have that kind of gift; we’re too serious, or complete bohemians!
    We need to learn how to appreciate irony.

  38. SimonDodd says:

    McBrien writes that “Vatican II and the late Pope Paul VI were adamantly opposed to having two liturgical rites, functioning side-by-side in the Roman Catholic Church—one in the vernacular for the majority of Catholics, and one still in Latin for a deeply conservative minority.” On what does this rest? “Adamantly opposed” must mean “considered and rejected,” not simply “didn’t contemplate.” The latter seems closer to the mark. I don’t see anything in Sacrosanctum Concilium that envisages a wholly vernacular litugy in the first place, so small wonder that it doesn’t envisage parallel rites. (And correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that the council meant to abolish, say, the byzantine rite, for example—so it clearly wasn’t uncomfortable with parallel rites, right?) Can anyone shed light on whether there’s anything basically interesting lurking behind the blather?

  39. ikseret says:

    With due respect, I think it is wrong to blame Newsweek.
    They only ran a column by a priest “in good standing” with his Archdiocese who teaches at a “Catholic” University.
    The ball is now in Archbishop Mansell’s court. As McBrien’s ordinary, he should silence him.
    And the local bishop should remove all faculties for priests of UND and ask them to reapply on an individual basis. Otherwise, these bishops are only facilitators.

  40. Paul M says:

    a the real Notre Shame scandal is?……. you can’t be more public in dissent than O’Brien. Where are you Fr. Jenkins? Where are you Archbishop Mansell?

  41. idatom says:

    Fr. Z.;

    Fr. Richard, where is my Roman collar? Newsweek needs me, McBrian ends his article with … their power will finally begin to ebb…. He should have added (I hope).

    Where are both of his Bishops? (I hope) they will finally remove him!

    Tom Lanter

  42. SimonDodd: McBrien is “blowing smoke”…as if he actually read SC, or actually understands it (which is the version I think is actually the case).
    SC is made “concrete” in the revisions of 1965…the “interim Mass”, if you will.
    Post VII, the “Concilium”, headed by the infamous Arch. Bugnini took things way beyond what SC ever envisioned. And, ergo, we have the Mass of 1970, which is, in the mind of many sound liturgical scholars and theologians, “a break from the Roman Rite” (even Gelineau admitted this)…this does not mean it is invalid. But the “break” is something apparent to even the scholars that might prefer it.
    And Pope Benedict says in SP that the “usus antiquior”, the Missal of 1962 was never abrogated.
    The Rev. McBrien needs to be “updated”, as far as I can see. He’s still living in the “Age of Aquarius”, re:1969; some of us have moved on and we’re in the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI.
    He can cry, rant, and scream all he wants.
    You are spot-on about the byzantine rites; parallel rites have never, in the history of the Church been a problem. It’s always been the attachment to “sacred tradition” and the Pope of Rome that have been the real considerations. As far as I know.

  43. Bornacatholic says:

    Fr. McBrien once wrote a column stating that Jesus was ignorant, in error, and sexually tempted.

    I protested my own Chancery, (Diocese of Portland – entire State of Maine) because the Bishop published that heresy in “Catholic World.”

    After a few days of protest in front of The Chancery, the Bishop’s mouthpiece, Marc Mutty, came out to tell me that the Bishop, Bishop Joseph Gerry, “Agrees with Fr. McBrien.

    Later the Chancellor of The Diocese, Fr.Michael Henchal, spoke with me on the phone and said, “Everyone at the Chancery thinks you are insane.”

    Given what they believed about Jesus, I took that intended insult as a compliment.

    The Fr McBrien’s of the world are going nowhere. They will remain where they are and we Catholics have to understand that we can not get them excommunicated or silenced.

    However, that does not mean we must let their lies go unopposed just because we have no chance at “success.” They MUST be confronted.

    There is an old expression that the Funeral Rite is the answer to many of the problems in the Catholic Church. And the answers are rapidly approaching for many of the Catholic Church’s problems.

    These aging 1960s radicals thought they had “won.” They thought they had killed the bad old Catholic Church and established a new one.

    And now the “victors” must prepare to meet Our Lord and Saviour whom they spent so many years attacking.

    They are losers. And they have always been losers and the world that befriended them has no respect for them. Oh sure, the world will continue to manipulate these sad losers (There is never a shortage of the latest Neo-Judas) but they have lost. Permanently.Period.

    And they now know what they must do. But, while they were brave enough to trash Jesus, they are too craven to admit their sins and to repudiate them publicly and call upon the Lord while there is still time.

    Losers. Every last one of them.

  44. Al says:

    This man is an enemy of the Church. I will be doing everything in my power to aid the Church and having these cancer’s removed. I will make it my “Mission in Life”. You have created an enemy

    Suggest watching “Father McBrien-ish people talking to St Thomas Beckett Here Skip to 8:40….

    “Nooo…. the Kingdom of God must be defended like any other Kingdom”.

  45. Bryan says:


    I guess we should be happy that harpies like this sad, washed-up priest are taking aim at the Church which has fed them, housed them, educated (?) them, coddled them, protected them…ad nauseam, since they supposedly promised to defend Her.

    He stopped being representative of the Faith when the Imprimatur on his heretical “Catholicism” was published in 1993 in an attempt to short-circuit the Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by John Paul II of happy memory.

    The only 2 other things I can think about re harping on sex by clerics is:

    1. Is sex (in all its forms, deviant and otherwise) the only thing that they think life is about? (how sad…)
    2. Methinks they dost protest too much.

    Just sayin’. I know it’s uncharitable. But how many times (70×7?) can you turn the cheek without saying “ENOUGH! SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, and HANG ON”.

  46. Randii says:

    McBrien is part of the parallel Magesterium/bureaucracy that has built up within the Catholic church over the past decades.

    His opinions are nothing new. However, as much as one may dislike his beliefs, his observations about growing resistance to Rome over changes the Pope wants to make because of the Pope’s perceived weakened position is right on IMO.

    Already the Pope’s effort to make the EO form more available is meeting heavy resistance. The Traditionalist had an article on this just recently. It’s taken forever to improve the translations used at Mass in English speaking countires. Catholic organizations such as the CHA are working at odds with bishops not to mention the UCCB’s CCHD which again recently was reluctantly forced to defund another organization.

    I think McBrien is right and that there will be a renewed resitance by progressive Catholics at every level.

  47. Bryan: Until his bishop, or the bishop of Fort Worth/South Bend decides to deal with him, we will be the recipients of his absolute crap until he retires or dies.
    This whole thing is unbelievable; how can this man, a priest of God, ordained to be in union with his bishop, with the Pope, with the Catholic Tradition, be allowed to carry on like some kind of psycho?
    And I’m not being “nasty” here.
    People in mental wards carry on just like this; I have relatives who are certifiably “nuts” and this is the kind of stuff that issues from them when they are not on medication (pace: Fr. Sotelo!).
    This poor priest is in need of an “intervention”..spiritual, mental, emotional…he’s off the charts.
    I’m not trained as a psychologist; have had some courses, but would never give a confirmed diagnosis; but as a spiritual director: Fr.McB: get thee to a professional!

  48. WBBritton says:

    The saddest thing in all of this is that it appears that Fr. McBrien wishes for Pope Benedict to fail.

  49. JARay says:

    The comment above by Bornacatholic is disturbing in that it gives evidence of others, bishops even, who are simply not Catholics. I pray daily for several priest failures and Fr. Richard McBrien is on my list. I never knew that he had promulgated Jesus as being ignorant, in error and having had sexual temptations. I was aghast at his rejection of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He really should be silenced.

  50. Mike says:

    “After a few days of protest in front of The Chancery, the Bishop’s mouthpiece, Marc Mutty, came out to tell me that the Bishop, Bishop Joseph Gerry, “Agrees with Fr. McBrien.

    Later the Chancellor of The Diocese, Fr.Michael Henchal, spoke with me on the phone and said, “Everyone at the Chancery thinks you are insane.””

    I wonder about the suggestion here, for I went to the college whose Abby Bishop Gerry was the Abbot of, and while it wasn’t exactly the hammer of heretics there, Abbot Gerry seemed genuinely orthodox and quite holy. Now I haven’t spoken with the man for years, but I do remember his homilies, and they were solid.\

    Also, before retirement, I have heard Bishop Gerry’s handling of lax priests was excellent.

    Let’s be careful.

  51. MrTipsNZ says:

    Perhaps a pertinent answer to this might be:

    Would Newsweek publish a counter from Fr Zuhlsdorf?

  52. ssoldie says:

    As an old Irish Catholic, I hate the scandal that so many of the so-called, Irish Catholic Cardinals, Bishops, priest and laymen in America have done, not with holding the disgusting scandal in Ireland for the last four decades. So I take and remember the wonderful Msgr Fr.Hugh O’Flaherty as my Irish hero in this twenthy century. Your a worst Irishman if you do not know of him.

  53. ssoldie: I must confess; although not a full-blooded Irishman, (only on my mother’s side and that mixed w/the English)I am ashamed to say I do not know of Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty…I will do my homework.
    The horrible scandal rocking the Irish Church (and I’m afraid we got some of the remnants here in the US) is just sickening…the violence, the absolute disrespect of innocence, youth, propriety, and on the part of some of the bishops, just plain negligence…someone once said to me, and I believe it, the worst person is an apostate Irish Catholic…the Italians, Spanish, whomever, just leave and shrug their shoulders…the apostate Irish attack, and attack, and attack…Fr McBrien as case in point.

  54. Nathan says:

    Father Sotelo and Nazareth Priest: Your clarifications on charity are spot-on, often times it is, IMO, quite charitable to take on error using humor. I wrote that comment primarily because I have to remind myself daily not to engage in ad hominem attacks and to see those in the Church (especially priests) who have engaged in publicly scandalous behavior with the dignity of their baptism, confirmation, and (if applicable) Holy Orders. I also have to remind myself, especially in the heat of these discussions and in my disgust at these attacks on the Holy Father, that there but for the grace of God go I. Acknowledging that, I thought it might be worth sharing with the WDTPRS-ers.

    May Our Suffering Lord grant both of you and all priests, especially on Holy Thursday, a torrent of graces and mercy to lead countless souls to heaven and to be held fast to His Sacred Heart.

    In Christ,

  55. I attended Saint Anselm College from 1981 to 1985, when Bishop Joseph Gerry was Abbot. He was essentially my spiritual director during that time. There is no way that he holds or held the positions ascribed to him by “Bornacatholic.” Bishop Gerry was the first priest to recommend the works of Blessed Columba Marmion to me. No one who loves Abbot Marmion would hold anything but orthodox positions concerning Our Lord. I will always be grateful to Bishop Joseph Gerry.

  56. Thank you, Nathan, for your kind and thoughtful comment.
    I try, and do not always succeed, to point out the problem in the issue, and not attack the person…I think you have a valid point that we all need to consider; the truth is what matters, yeah? But also, and I try to give this counsel to my penitents and spiritual directees, to give people the benefit of the doubt.
    When they confirm that they are, in fact, not being truthful or authentic, then they need correction.
    In other words, if they “hang themselves”, prove that they are doing evil, they need to be corrected and instructed.
    Thank you for your prayers…most beautiful and appreciated. Blessing to you.

  57. spock says:

    Y’know if spock ripped on the CEO of the company he works for in the same way Father McBrien ripped on His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, spock would get the “Vulcan Death Grip” applied to him by his middle management. He would be unemployed. Perhaps comparing the Church to company isn’t exactly right but there has to be some limits here. Where are they ? What else would he have to do? Paint some blasphemous NEA sponsored art ? Sing blasphemous music ? Pick on the Popes’ family ? What ?

    No limits. No limits. None. None. None. “The Church of I can do whatever I want.” All the contemporary issues Father McBrien cited, “The Church of I can do whatever I want.”

    How do we compete with “The Church of I can do whatever I want.” I don’t know. All I know is people have to think. They have to want to come to real thought out and logical conclusions. If that is no longer present in people, then “Houston, we have a problem.”

  58. Bos Mutissimus says:

    I know, of course, that trying to parse any of Fr. McBrien’s columns is an exercise in futility. This column, though no more irrational than any other McBrien(TM) screed, contains an especially pernicious contradiction. He notes the Holy Father’s [conservative moral] “agenda” four times, in an obviously disapproving tone. He must have forgotten his 2002 Essay in Theology in which he tried to deflect his own critics by neutralizing the word “agenda.” [Yes, there actually was a memorable McBrien(TM) column. It was especially noteworthy for its sophistry.]

    A couple of examples:

    “The English word ‘agenda’ is identical with the Latin, agenda. It is a list of things that ‘need to be done.’ As such, it is neutral in meaning. Taken positively, however, it refers to an individual or a group who are well-organized-people who know what ‘needs to be done’ and have made the effort to list the steps that need to be taken if goals are to be achieved.

    ‘Agenda’ is sometimes given a negative meaning, as in the dismissive remark, ‘Well, what would you expect them to say? They have an agenda.’ ”


    “But in the end, what’s wrong with having an agenda? An agenda, after all, is nothing more than a list of things that a group of people thinks ‘need to be done’ – whether in politics, business, academia, the professions, or even the Church.

    One may disagree with the content of a particular agenda, but why should its very existence be dismissed so summarily — as ‘extremist,’ in fact?”

    In other words, I’m just a harmless little fuzz ball with an agenda. Now what’s so wrong about that, you unreasonable buffoons? Sounds like Fr. McBrien is overly sensitive to being accused of having an agenda, but can’t tolerate Pope Benedict’s agenda at all. Fr. Z. is right — Fr. McBrien hates the Holy Father and all Things Catholic that don’t adhere to his [modernist] agenda. I’m not sure I agree with Fr. Sotelo, though; Fr. McBrien can do real harm (scandal) to those who don’t discern sophistry well. Perhaps this risk will be offset by the declining readership of McBrien(TM) columns.

    On a lighter, hopefully Chestertonian, note,

    Q: What do you call Fr. McBrien in a tuxedo?

    A: A Formal Heretic!

  59. medievalist says:

    The fact that Fr McBrien is still teaching theology is rock-solid proof that there is very little in the way of “adroit control of the Vatican’s administrative machinery”.

  60. meunke says:

    McBrien is a filthy coward.

    As much as it pains me to write that about a priest of God, it is true.

    Reading what he writes, you can clearly see that he believes in things that are directly, KNOWINGLY against Church teaching. He even teaches and writes in a way to lead other to either deny them or doubt them. However, he uses sophistry to carefully conceal any direct, obvious attack on Catholic teachings.

    I honestly have more respect for Jack Chick and Dawkins than I do for McBrien. At least with Chick and Dawkins, they have the stones to come right out and say the foul things they believe, whereas McBrien conceals them in passive aggressive, cloudy prose. Afterall, if he came right out and stated clearly his heterodoxy, he might, MIGHT, lose his position. And then how would he be able to afford to buy those snappy suits?

  61. SimonDodd says:

    MrTipsNZ asks: “Would Newsweek publish a counter from Fr Zuhlsdorf?” I’m sure Newsweek likes to take a poke at the Vatican, but what Newsweek really cares about is selling copy. And nothing sells copy like controversy. I bet they would publish a response that took O’Brien to task.

    I have to agree with ikseret and nazareth priest. Bornacatholic writes that “[t]he Fr McBrien’s of the world are going nowhere,” and “we can not get them excommunicated or silenced,” but that can’t be right. Isn’t excommunication a remedial measure? It’s less a punishment or an expulsion than an intervention: a wake-up call that you need help. We don’t wait for an alcoholic have to drink themselves to death before friends and family intervene. “But, but, I can stop dissenting any time I want!” Really? This column isn’t the product of impaired judgment? No one needs help more than the guy who doesn’t think he needs help. With all respect: Where are the bishops when dissenters and public apostates scandalize the Church? Where are the bishops in cases of child abuse? Where are the bishops on the new translation and implementing Summorum Pontificum? Indeed, reading stories about Bp. Trautman and Archbp. Weakland, one can’t help but think that in some instances, it isn’t so much AWOL as defection.

    And what on earth are catachumens and candidates to make of all this? I don’t LIKE this teaching; this is a hard saying; do I have to follow, try to follow, this teaching? Well, that McBrien guy ignores it, and no one corrects him. That Pelosi chick ignores it and no one corrects her. That Weakland guy ignores it—and he’s a bishop, one of the “preachers of the faith, … [the] authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith.” LG25. If he ignores the teaching because it’s too hard, surely I can ignore it too, right?

    The bishops are charged with “vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock.” That is one teaching of the council the ignoring of which McBrien must count on.

    Or perhaps I’m wrong and am speaking out of turn, in which case I apologize.

  62. DdC says:

    McBrien is a sad and pathetic creature. Narcissists always are…

    Saint Therese and her sister prayed for the criminal Henry Pranzini, a triple murderer.
    “At the age of 14, a year before Thérèse had entered the Carmel, she heard of a criminal by the name, Henry Pranzini in Marseilles, France who was going to be executed for murdering two women and a little girl. Upon hearing that, Thérèse had one desire: to save his soul. She adopted him as her ‘first child’, as she prayed and offered many little sacrifices for his soul, that he would repent before his final hour, and that God would pardon him. Thérèse was confident that the Lord would grant her request, but asked for a sign just for her own consolation. The next day, Thérèse opened La Croix newspaper only to read that Pranzini, after many refusals of priests and continuously protesting his innocence at the foot of the guillotine, in the last moment, called for the Crucifix and kissed the wounds of Jesus before he died. God answered Thérèse’s prayer. She knew that if the Lord had given her Pranzini as her ‘first child’, it was so that she would have many more.”
    from: The Carmel of St. Joseph blog page, Ontario, Canada

    Let us ask Saint Therese to make Fr McBrien her “second child”. Sancta Theresa, ora pro nobis.

  63. mfg says:

    Just an aside: Bill O’Reily says, “Whenever I want the Catholic perspective I get my Catholic expert, Fr. McBrien,” and then in steps Fr. McBrien to spout off his latest anti-Catholic salvo. On another matter: Isn’t there some kind of rule regarding priests wearing their clerical garb when representing the church? Come to think of it, aren’t they always representing the Church? Wouldn’t you think his bishop would have something to say about this? When Fr. X comes to my home for a backyard barbecue with my family he wears a pair of slacks and a polo shirt but if I were to see him anyplace else he would be in clericals. One of the many reasons I love the new TLM orders is that they proudly wear cassocks and birettas.

  64. You know, this whole issue with Fr. McBrien goes much deeper than a “dissident priest”…the University of Notre Dame is virtually free from ecclesial authority…just think of the Obama award at the graduation ceremonies of UND.
    This has to do with the “Land o Lakes Conference” in the late sixties when then-Pres. Fr. T. Hesburgh “sold-out” to the Rockefeller Foundation for mega-cash…all for the whole birth-control movement. Can’t recount it here; but you can find out about all this mess yourselves.
    Fr. McBrien is “untouchable” unless the local Bishop or his own Bishop decides to “reign him in”, as I have said before.
    This does not look like it’s going to happen.
    Your guess is as good as mine.
    It’s just a nasty, nasty situation.
    This priest needs to be silence; now.

  65. SimonDodd: You are highlighting the whole “scandal” involved here: and by scandal I mean the behavior of someone who leads others to sin.
    Fr. McBrien is not an authoritative teacher of the Catholic Faith. He’s just saying what he wants to say.
    Anything that is authoritative has to square with the Catholic Tradition; today we have this spelled out in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (which, I realize, some may object to its authority…but that’s another question altogether. John Paul II said it is authoritative and we’ll leave it at that.)
    No matter what an individual priest/catechist/whomever may teach, if it’s not in the CCC, it’s not true. Theologians and bishops may have their own interpretation, but if it’s not faithful to Christ’s teaching as put forth in the CCC and what the Pope says, it’s not true.
    Catechemens and converts have to know what the Church teaches; if inidividual teachers are not in conformity with it, they have to go elsewhere for instructionl.
    Your quandry is exactly the reason why people like Fr. McBrien should be silenced…they add more confusion, they give all kinds of encouragement to dissenters, and they are a scourage on the Body of Christ.

  66. SimonDodd says:

    NP, just to be clear, my quandary was rhetorical only. :)

  67. staggering but still standing says:

    Forgive me. Must go. Can’t comment and vomit at the same time.

  68. SimonDodd: Sorry, then!
    I’m not always “on target”…but you make some very important points!

  69. robtbrown says:

    No matter how People like Mr. McBrien try to label themselves, in the end, they all turn out to be children of the Enlightenment.
    Comment by Desertfalcon

    There were great historical figures who were Children of the Enlightenment–Isaac Newton, James Boswell, Adam Smith, Wolfgang Mozart, Thomas Jefferson, et al.

    Fr McBrien doesn’t belong with them. He is an intellectual lightweight, a theologian of extremely limited perspective, a bullsh!t artist who has lost the faith.

  70. Central Valley says:

    Does anyone read Newsweek? As publications go, they have a follow similar to MSNBC and CNN. As for “Fr.” McBrien, why haven’t his Bishops stopped him over the years? Does he have the “dirt” on someone. McBrien is a poster child for the weakness of the average American Bishop.

  71. Central Valley says:

    As Fr. Sotelo stated we need to act with charity. As an act of charity, the local police and mental health professionals should be dispatched to Fr. McBriens residence on April 19th for suicide watch. Perhaps the local fire department can cover his hosue with a large butterfly net. Let us pray the Holy Father can be a little like Richard Nixon, in that he will be able to outlive and bury all of his detractors.

  72. As was asked of Paul, let it be asked of Fr. McBrien: “why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad.”

  73. Norah says:

    CS Lewis could have had Mc Brien in mind when he penned this.

    To Dissenting Priests

    “It is your duty to to fix the lines (of doctrine) clearly in your minds: and if you wish to go beyond them you must change your profession. This is your duty not specially as Christians or as priests but as honest men. There is a danger here of the clergy developing a special professional conscience which obscures the very plain moral issue. Men who have passed beyond these boundary lines in either direction are apt to protest that they have come by their unorthodox opinions honestly. In defense of those opinions they are prepared to suffer obloquy and to forfeit professional advancement. They thus come to feel like martyrs. But this simply misses the point which so gravely scandalizes the layman. We never doubted that the unorthodox opinions were honestly held: what we complain of is your continuing in your ministry after you have come to hold them. We always knew that a man who makes his living as a paid agent of the Conservative Party may honestly change his views and honestly become a Communist. What we deny is that he can honestly continue to be a Conservative agent and to receive money from one party while he supports the policy of the other.”
    –from Christian Apologetics by C.S. Lewis, Easter 1945.
    (Reprinted in God in the Dock pp. 89-90)

  74. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    Some time ago, a friend of mine shared a thought with me that to this day always helps. He said, and please forgive the vulgarity, “Even the Body of Christ has an asshole.” Whenever things in the Church tick me off, it helps to think of this.

  75. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Now we are in Holy Thursday, the hallowed evening of the institution of the Blessed Eucharist and the Priesthood, as perpetual signs of Jesus’ Presence with us, even to the end of the ages.

    As a priest, I feel a special bond with all my brothers in Holy Orders, especially Fr. Z and the priests who post comments. This is truly our night, when one heart at times isn’t enough to contain the emotions of realizing what we have been permitted and honored to handle with our hands.

    All my jokes about McBrien’s mental condition aside, I truly do feel sorrow if he cannot see the glorious privilege of being invited into Jesus’ inner circle as a priest. A priest who truly loves the Lord and the Church is never without reason to be ministers of divine joy. If that joy has left McBrien’s heart, ask Jesus to put it back.

  76. Bob Glassmeyer says:

    Amen, Fr. Sotelo.

  77. staggering but still standing says:

    In the article picture, he looks pale and a bit frail. There’s hope. They are all getting older, more pathetic and certainly are currently displaying desperation.

  78. Robert of Rome says:

    While I agree with all the comments about the harm Richard McBrien has done to the Church in the Newsweek article, nevertheless, I don’t think he should be silenced or otherwise sanctioned, and I believe we are wrong to expect his bishop to do this. I say this not because I think McBrien doesn’t deserve to be sanctioned (he certainly does), but because I am sure that the publicity such an action would stir up in the media would only play into the hands of those who see “cover-up” in everything the Church hierarchy does. No, the more prudent action, in my view, is to pray for McBrien’s soul and to stand resolute against his vile attempts to use the media attacks that Pope Benedict is currently sustaining as a way of undermining his pontificate. [Indeed. He would just become symbol as a liberal martyred by the oppressive Romanizing authoritarian minority.]

  79. Timbot2000 says:

    Prayer for Fr. McBrien

    O Lord, bless and protect Fr. Richard McBrien, and keep him…
    away from me.

  80. JosephMary says:

    Next up will be articles from Fr. Thomas Reese and Archbishop Weakland–or at least I would not be surprised to see the next attacks on the Holy Father from them and perhaps from some of the other usual suspects.

    It is a shame when a priest is such an incredibly public dissenter and with total impunity that it just goes on ad nauseum.

    It is nothing new. Always the spirit of a judas has been within the church to damage it from the inside out.

    It is for us to pray for their conversions before they must answer to Our Blessed Lord. Death is the portal that awaits us all and then there is judgment and eternity.

  81. Scott W. says:

    I think McBrien doesn’t deserve to be sanctioned (he certainly does), but because I am sure that the publicity such an action would stir up in the media would only play into the hands of those who see “cover-up” in everything the Church hierarchy does.

    Sanctions should not start with McBrien, but they should start. See Ed Peters:

    At some point one has to acknowledge that the Church is not going to win any PR battles no matter what it does, so we should just do what is right and let this world’s tyrant rage.

  82. MattW says:

    I think Fr. McBrien should look back over the last 40 years of Church history–‘er, herstory. Where has the dissident agenda taken us: full pews, good collections, great strides toward social justice, and most importantly (objectively, but not for many of them) salvation of souls? No, no, no, and God only knows.

  83. Scott W. says:

    All of that is true MattW, but we also need to remember the first rule of progressive thinking: it’s all about process, not content–so for instance if you bring up the Episcopal Church and how it has been reduced to a smouldering pile of rubble by adopting every secular pluralist platitude out there, dissident Catholics simply are incapable of seeing the destruction. All they see is how progressive-minded they are and how wonderful it is and gee, don’t we wish the Catholics could be like that? It’s one of those mysteries that agents of chaos don’t see the chaos.

  84. TNCath says:

    I encourage everyone to express their concern to Father McBrien’s bishop, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, Connecticut. While nothing may come of it, you never know.

    Here is the archdiocesan website address:

  85. ikseret says:

    If bishops don’t silence their heretic priests, media will think there are alternate ways of being Catholic.
    I applaud Dolan, Levada, et al. for publically defending the Pope despite the hostility. But, an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Bishops need to remove the faculties of dissenting priests. Afterall, theose priests did freely promise obedience. It’s time to call them on it. They use their dignity as priests to make a name for themselves, in a bad way. The bishops must give them a chance to redeem themselves by obedience.
    For too long nothing is done. So, we got Curran from Rochester (who I believe is still in good standing!)
    And then there is this McBrien of Hartford.
    Of course, there are others. But, when these priests are teaching and are in good standing with their bishops it gives them credibility. So, the Pelosi’s, Biden’s, and Newsweeks of this country see them and think that it’s ok to oppose the magisterium. If it were not, surely these priests would be silenced, right?

    Archbishop Henry Mansell
    Telephone: 860-541-6491
    Archdiocese of Hartford
    134 Farmington Avenue
    Hartford, CT 06105

  86. ron.d says:

    So, how does it happen? How do liberals become liberals? Did they just not get hugged enough as kids?

    Everybody, hug your children tonight, and hope they don’t grow up to be liberal!

  87. ikseret says:

    TNCath, it seems we had a similar idea. haha
    [I seem to remember that the Hartford Archdiocese’ paper runs a column by McBrien, giving him tacit approval! I hope I am mistaken.]

    One other point:
    The media is harping on the eubophiliac sexual abuse scandal. Certain bishops either were not prudent or trusted secular “wisdom” of the psychologists and did not remove abusive priests, but allowed them to continue in ministry. Hopefully, they learned their lesson.

    But,what about on a spiritual level. How much more damage is done to the soul – and not to just one soul, but many, when dissenting and heretic priests are allowed to teach and preach. It’s nothing less than spiritual seduction.

    Better to cut off and lose the cancer of one heretic priest (albeit we hope he takes his promise of obedience seriously and refrains from teaching and repents), than to lose 1000’s of souls from his error which receives tacit approval by his bishop doing nothing.
    To leave him in ministry is to allow him to spiritually abuse the faithful!!!

    Certain bishops are now facing the wrath of the media for past failures.
    However, the greater judgment is to come.
    Let us pray for our bishops and make our voices heard to our pastors, as Canon Law instructs.

  88. chironomo says:

    I think that we are fast approaching the time when there will be a “line in the sand” drawn with Catholics on one side and those like McBrien on the other side. There is a growing intolerance on both sides for the views of the other, but as the Church settles back into a more authentic expression of the faith, the more progressive folks will place themselves in a position of having to defend their wackiness. We are dealing with such an issue right now in our diocese.

  89. Judas left many offspring!

  90. Grabski says:

    Isn’t this the guy who goes around in commercial attire – except on CNN?

  91. Rich says:

    Richard McBrien

  92. Athelstan says:

    “Isn’t this the guy who goes around in commercial attire – except on CNN?”

    He’s the one. I think he thinks he’s a German theologian (America’s Karl Rahner!)

    He’s also, at last check, the only member of Notre Dame’s theological faculty to refuse to accept a mandatum, in defiance of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. As he told America, “I shall not seek a mandate because the requirement of a mandate compromises the academic integrity of the faculty and the university.”

  93. Grabski says:

    robtbrown There were great historical figures who were Children of the Enlightenment—Isaac Newton, James Boswell, Adam Smith, Wolfgang Mozart, Thomas Jefferson, et al.

    I am no expert, but I believe that Smith, Mozart Jefferson and Newton were all Freemasons

  94. wanda says:

    On my little daily calendar, this just turned up..seems fitting for the subject of this post..

    ‘For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.’
    1 Peter 2:15

  95. robtbrown says:

    I am no expert, but I believe that Smith, Mozart Jefferson and Newton were all Freemasons
    Comment by Grabski

    No doubt. My point is that they were men of profound historical influence, but Fr McBrien is a hack.

    BTW, Descartes was also a child of the Enlightenment. Although I disagree with his philosophy, he was a serious Catholic.

  96. RuariJM says:

    Fr Z – have to ask for clarification of one thing you say:

    “…Perhaps McBrien would prefer to preserve the status quo, the same environment in which the abuse rose in Ireland…”

    It appears you are saying that the systematic, systemic and state-wide abuse in Ireland (and in a lot of the Irish diaspora) is a produce of post-V2 ‘liberalism’. I’m sure you can’t mean that as the Ryan Report demonstrated so clearly that the bulk of the abuse – and the Industrial Schools system in which it unfortunately thrived – predates the current environment and V2 by a matter of decades. The reports on the dioceses of Dublin and Fearns were restricted to considering only the period since the death of Archbishop McQuaid in 1974 (despite the fact that it was he who established the secret files and was so close to de Valera). Again, I’m sure you’re aware of that.

    Richard McBrien may well be a fool, knave and schemer and maybe in need of a bit of ‘turbulent priest’ therapy. However, while I am more than happy to support BXVI’s call for a return to ‘traditional values’ of penance and prayer, let us not think that, in some idyllic past, all was well when it quite clearly was not.

    Unless I misunderstood you?

  97. dontex says:

    Is McBrien even relevant in the Church anymore? Wonder when the last time he wore clerical garb. If he is so upset with the Church, why doesn’t he leave and form his own church.

  98. shane says:

    Ruari (presumably from the Telegraph blogs?…if so, hello!)

    I totally agree with you that sexual abuse long predates the Second Vatican Council (see my comment yesterday), but I would take issue with your contention that the ‘bulk of the abuse‘ occured in the pre-Conciliar era. Vol III, Ch VII of the Ryan Report gives the number of sexual abuse reports by decade of the witnesses’ discharge (see Table 22):

    1914-1959 88 (35%)
    1960-69 119 (47%)
    1970-79 37 (15%
    1980-89 9 (4%)
    Total 253 (100%)

  99. Sandy says:

    I am so spiritually and emotionally tired of this man. Can’t he be removed, silenced? Where is his bishop, someone?! Noticing years ago that he dresses as a “civilian”, told me a lot about his beliefs. We are joining Our Dear Lord in His Passion. Satan unleashed this avalanche in the media at the perfect time – Holy Week, no coincidence.

  100. cl00bie says:

    We don’t have to worry, that wrinkled old prune will be called home soon to have a tete a tete with the Almighty. The huge belly laugh about this whole thing is that were the pope the fascistic micromanager McBrien seems to think he is, McBrien would have been fired from his post at Notre Dame, and his next assignment would have been as priest to a group of monks who have taken a vow of silence.

    My response to these unfair and libelous attacks on my church and my pope is to drop to my knees in prayer. Specifically for those who persecute us. In the words of Jesus: “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do”.

  101. ALL: This entry is not about Bp. Gerry. Don’t derail discussions or you won’t be posting here.

  102. robtbrown says:

    It appears you are saying that the systematic, systemic and state-wide abuse in Ireland (and in a lot of the Irish diaspora) is a produce of post-V2 ‘liberalism’. I’m sure you can’t mean that as the Ryan Report demonstrated so clearly that the bulk of the abuse – and the Industrial Schools system in which it unfortunately thrived – predates the current environment and V2 by a matter of decades. The reports on the dioceses of Dublin and Fearns were restricted to considering only the period since the death of Archbishop McQuaid in 1974 (despite the fact that it was he who established the secret files and was so close to de Valera). Again, I’m sure you’re aware of that.
    Comment by RuariJM

    From some of the surnames in the American scandals, it appears that Ireland exported some of those problems to the US.

  103. shane says:

    David Quinn, who attended the Ryan Commission hearings and reported them for the Irish Independent, wrote a good article on the Report and the industrial school abuse in Studies magazine, having realized most media commentators had read no more than the summary:

    Re: the numbers:


    As mentioned, a total of 1,090 former residents of the institutions reported to the Ryan Commission. Between them, they named 800 alleged abusers in over 200 institutions. But there was very wide variation from institution to institution in terms of the amount of abuse taking place in each of them, something that the executive summary of the Ryan Report, which is what most journalists will have read, did not make clear. For example, fully 50 per cent of physical abuse reports and 64 per cent of the sex abuse reports heard by the Commission that involved boys, related to four of the boys institutions. The same applies to the girls’ institutions. Three schools account for almost 40 per cent of the physical abuse reports, or 48 reports each, while 19 schools had an average of 2.5 reports each.

    Sexual abuse was also far worse in the boys’ institution than in the girls’, which is probably to be expected. In the girls’ institutions, sex abuse was normally perpetrated by outside workmen, or by visiting priests or religious, or by foster families, with whom the girls occasionally stayed.

    A relative handful of individuals accounted for a disproportionate share of the complaints. For example: a total of 241 female religious were named as physical abusers. However, four of these were named by 125 witnesses, and 156 Sisters were named by one witness each. In total, of the 800 religious and others named as abusers, half were named by only one person.

    It is also worth noting that an institution only received a special chapter in the Ryan Report if it was the subject of more than 20 complaints of abuse. Sixteen institutions, out of the dozens run by the orders, had more than 20 complaints made against them.

    When I first reported the above figures in the Irish Catholic and the Irish Independent, I was accused by a handful of people (fewer than I had expected) of ‘playing the numbers game’. But surely numbers matter immensely? If they do not, then why did numbers feature so heavily in the Ryan Report and in the subsequent media coverage of it, and in the debates about it? In the North, for example, it is not immaterial whether 300 or 3,000 people died in the ‘Troubles’.

    If I were a member of an order that ran those institutions that were relatively better run than some of the others, I would want people to know this. I would regard it as particularly unfair and unjust if every institution was universally regarded as being as terrible as the very worst of the institutions.


  104. shane says:

    Quinn’s point about the discipline in Les choristes is also echoed by Fr Michael Hughes, archivist for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate congregation, and who had been involved with supervision at Daingean. According to the Irish Times ( ‘Living hell’ reformatory claim rejected; Wednesday, June 07, 2006): “He agreed there were gangs and a hierarchy among the boys with newcomers known as “fish”. He did not agree it was a situation which got out of control, though there were disturbances at times. “Discipline at the school was very severe for that very purpose, so staff could keep control. It was intended as protection for the children . . . these lads were not small boys.”

    He agreed the Brothers worked all year around, seven days a week with no day off until the 1970s, and that 20 of them were responsible for 150 boys.”

    Diarmaid Ferriter, Professor of History at University College Dublin also notes something similar in his book The Transformation of Ireland (page 517):

    “Though it was not fashionable to admit it towards the end of the century, many of the members of religious orders had worked hard under difficult conditions to educate and provide for vulnerable children…[O]ne can have some sympathy with the contention of Patrick Touher, an inmate of Artane Industrial School, that ‘on the whole the [Christian] Brothers were doing their best, within limited circumstances in hard times and with frightening numbers. They too shared in the hard rigid life. They had no luxuries, nothing to look forward to, except more of the same’.”

  105. pjthom81 says:

    With apologies to Thomas Carlyle’s French Revolution….

    What an admission of failure by McBrien! He states explicitly that his views are loosing inside the Church both worldwide and here in the US. What a fall from the days of Jadot! In desperation he grabs the scandal, thence to brandish as a weapon….but how ungainly it is for his use! The scandal implicates a homosexual variety of pedophilia must be handled with care by a progressivist lest the weapon slip and harm the latest civil rights crusade. Repression, aye, there’s the answer! Let us imply that repression leads to misuse of sexuality. Conservatives and Orthodox alike in response shake their heads at 40 years of broken families and public celebration of the perverse.

    McBrien follows Dowd…extrapolating political differences to Vatican politics. They will try to make Benedict XVI President Bush. They will make much mischief, but the public’s attention, notoriously fickle, will soon move to other pursuits. The evidence is not there. The public will move on. McBrien and his ilk by their very demands have meanwhile placed a potent weapon in the hands of Benedict XVI. At the end of McBrien’s comments is an oxymoron….demand reform to stop the Reform. The genie is out of the bottle….McBrien has demanded reform from Benedict XVI, and who better to bring reform than God’s Rottweiler?

  106. Andy F. says:

    This article makes me sick.

  107. RuariJM says:

    Hi, Shane

    Yes, tis I, indeed! See you on the Torygraph soon, I have no doubt!

    I acknowledge your point; however, the point has also been made that a lot of people who went through the institutions in the earlier years of the Irish Free State and the Republic are now dead and are thus not in a position to report anything at all. The regime, generally, in the industrial schools (and the Magdalene Laundries, which were not covered as they weren’t ‘schools’ as such) was something we would now regard as brutal and shocking – while we must seek to avoid imposing today’s standards on the past, we should also avoid excusing unacceptable behaviour on that same basis.

    Interesting though, looking at the numbers – how many there were in the 1960s. That may be a function of the reporting pattern – that people have tended to come forward in their 30s and later. If that is the case, we will see more post-1960s reporting as years go by. But given the amount of publicity there has been on the matter I’m not sure how much more of the barrel is left to be scraped.

    Anecdotally, however, I know that a significant number of people who were abused have not come forward – in fact, the majority I know of at the not-so-august institution I attended have chosen to keep their experiences confidential. Of course, if they don’t report they can’t be counted – but all the offenders I know of were ordained pre-V2. Only one was someone I would regard as being from the ‘liberal wing’; the majority were definitely conservatives, with small and large ‘c’.

    Without splitting hairs on the numbers, I don’t think there is anywhere near enough evidence to say this is a post-Conciliar problem. As I have said on another thread, I think it’s counter-productive – and potentially dangerous – to try and blame this on one faction or another; repair, restoration and renewal is everyone’s responsibility.

    (I’d still like to see the Irish Christian Brothers, the Marists and the other orders at the heart of the Irish abomination shut down and their assets recovered for the common good, though.)

  108. RuariJM says:

    Correction to the above – one of the offenders was ordained post-V2. No evidence that he was liberal (or conservative, for that matter).

  109. John Fannon says:

    Adapting Winston Churchill’s dismissal of a remark by Stanley Baldwin during WW2

    Richard McBrien? What? Is there a candle still guttering in that old hallowe’en pumpkin?

  110. Henry Edwards says:

    Grabski: I am no expert, but I believe that Smith, Mozart Jefferson and Newton were all Freemasons

    Obviously not. I can claim expertise only regarding Newton, but wonder where you get this.

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